Gove promises to publicise ‘the Good this Right of Centre Government has achieved.’ Groan.

Janet Downs's picture
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Michael Gove’s made a speech. It promoted the Good Right, an initiative started by Tim Montgomerie, founder of Conservative Home and described by Tatler as ‘the most powerful man in politics’, and Stephan Shakespeare, founder of YouGov (which, by the way, has just published a poll which found only one quarter supported creating new free schools).

Gove made selective use of historical figures. Thatcher and Reagan single-handedly saved the world from Communism - no mention of Soviet stagnating economy, humiliation in Afghanistan, growing nationalism in Soviet states or Glasnost. Balfour introduced an Education Act (which, incidentally, set up Local Education Authorities, now part of Local Authorities which Gove has done his best to destroy) – Gove forgot the 1870 Education Act introduced by a Liberal, William Forster. Churchill’s wartime government allowed Rab Butler to pass the 1944 Education Act – but Churchill’s well-known for being indifferent about the Bill. He told Butler his plans would be ‘very interesting’ and Butler left it at that.

More distorted visions of history follow. Gove acknowledged the 2008 economic crisis was fuelled by the behaviour of banks but the main cause was ‘reckless borrowing’. But the national debt has grown into a ‘monster’ in the Coalition’s five years. And the bogeyman of ‘reckless borrowing’ has silenced what the Telegraph describes as ‘the respectable macroeconomic debate about whether deficit spending in an era of low growth and low interest rates is or is not a bad thing.’

But ‘balancing the books and building up a surplus’ is essential for the ‘creation of a covenant with our children’, Gove said. And the Government has promoted this by making it clear there’s a ‘link between effort and reward’. That statement rankles rather, coming from a politician who agreed to repay £7,000 after claiming MP’s expenses for furnishing his home. There doesn't appear to have been much effort in claiming that remuneration apart from a little form filling.

But enough of history and Goveconomics, what Good things happened in education? That will be the subject of my next post.
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